Venus Williams beat Johanna Larsson 6-3, 7-5 to give the United States an insurmountable 3-1 lead against Sweden in the best-of-five Fed Cup World Group playoffs.

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Williams sisters lift Americans

to Fed Cup playoffs victory

Venus Williams beat Johanna Larsson 6-3, 7-5 to give the United States an insurmountable 3-1 lead against Sweden in the best-of-five Fed Cup World Group playoffs Sunday in Delray Beach, Fla.

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The victory guarantees the Americans a spot in the top-level 2014 Fed Cup World Group; Sweden will compete in World Group II next year.

Earlier in the day, top-ranked Serena Williams — Venus’ sister — gave the U.S. team a 2-1 lead when she posted a 6-2, 6-1 victory over 54th-ranked Sofia Arvidsson.

No. 21 Venus Williams was a last-minute substitution for 16th-ranked Sloane Stephens in the fourth match. Stephens lost the first match of the weekend to Arvidsson.

Once victory for the United States was guaranteed, the Swedes won the doubles match in a walkover to make the final score 3-2.

Meanwhile, Russia advanced to this year’s Fed Cup final on Nov. 2-3 against either the Czech Republic or Italy.

Host Italy leads the rain-delayed semifinal with the Czech Republic 2-1.

Russia beat Slovakia 3-2 in semifinal play in Moscow.

Djokovic snaps Nadal’s streak

Top-ranked Novak Djokovic of Serbia won the Monte Carlo Masters in Monaco — meaning, for the first time in nine years, the trophy belonged to someone other than Rafael Nadal of Spain.

Djokovic beat Nadal 6-2, 7-6 (7-1) in the final of the clay-court event. Nadal had won his previous 46 Monte Carlo Masters matches and his eight straight titles were an ATP record for one tournament.

“Rafa, thank you for allowing me to win it once,” Djokovic said.


NBC’s Michaels is arrested

on suspicion of DUI

NBC Sports announcer Al Michaels was arrested in Santa Monica, Calif., on suspicion of drunken driving, authorities said.

Michaels, 68, was pulled over at about 9:30 p.m. Friday after officers manning a DUI checkpoint saw him make an illegal U-turn, Santa Monica police Sgt. Richard Lewis said.

Michaels, the play-by-play man for “Sunday Night Football,” was taken to the police station, where he registered a blood-alcohol level exceeding the .08 percent legal limit, Lewis said.

Michaels was booked for suspicion of DUI and held for about five hours before being released on his own recognizance, Lewis said. Michaels was ordered to appear in court June 26.

“We are aware of the situation and we’ve been in contact with Al,” said Greg Hughes, a spokesman for NBC Sports. “We have no further comment at this time.”


Suarez is sorry for biting player

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez bit the arm of Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic during a 2-2 draw in the English Premier League and apologized a few hours later.

Suarez, who is from Uruguay, served a seven-game suspension for biting PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal in a Dutch-league match in 2010.

Suarez, 26, was suspended for eight matches and fined $62,000 in December 2011 for making a racist insult to Manchester United defender Patrice Evra, who is black, during a Premier League match.

On his Twitter account, Suarez wrote, “I apologize (to) Ivanovic and all football world for my inexcusable behaviour. I’m so sorry about it!!”

In a statement, team managing director Ian Ayre said, “His behavior is not befitting of any player wearing a Liverpool shirt and Luis is aware that he has let himself and everyone associated with the club down.”


• Adam Jahn scored in stoppage time to give host San Jose a 1-1 draw with Portland in Major League Soccer. Diego Valeri scored for the Timbers in the 58th minute.

In another MLS match, Jack McInerney scored twice before halftime to lead the Philadelphia Union to a 3-2 victory over host D.C. United.

• Six days after bombs exploded near the Boston Marathon finish line, there was tight security at the London Marathon.

Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia won the men’s race in 2 hours, 6 minutes, 4 seconds for 26.2 miles. Priscah Jeptoo of Kenya earned the women’s title in 2:20:15.

• Oracle Team USA won the 2012-13 America’s Cup World Series overall championship. Luna Rossa of Italy took the Naples, Italy, sailing series for the second consecutive year. The Naples leg of the World Series was the last before the Louis Vuitton Cup for challengers begins July 4 off San Francisco. The America’s Cup starts off San Francisco on Sept. 7.

Ryan Johansen scored the tiebreaking goal with 1:37 left to give the Columbus Blue Jackets a boost in their push for an NHL playoff berth with a 4-3 victory over the host San Jose Sharks.

There are eight Western Conference playoff slots and Columbus is tied for seventh place with Minnesota.

• Irish rider Daniel Martin of the Garmin-Sharp team won the hilly Liege-Bastogne-Liege race in Belgium, pulling away from Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez of the Katusha team to take cycling’s oldest classic. Martin covered 162.18 miles in 6 hours, 38 minutes, 7 seconds.

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